Dementia can affect a person at any age but it is more commonly diagnosed in people over the age of 65 years. A person developing dementia before age 65 is said to have young onset dementia. There are over 850,000
people living with dementia in the UK and this is set to rise to over one million by 2025.
The word ‘dementia’ describes a set of symptoms that may include:
- Memory loss.
- Difficulties with thinking.
- Difficulties with problem-solving.
- Changes in language and ability to communicate.
The onset of dementia can become apparent due to small changes in a persons behaviour (such as forgetfulness) however they can soon progress into effects that impact on the on-going routines of daily life. Dementia
can also cause people to experience changes in their mood or behaviour.
Dementia is very much an ‘umbrella’ term for conditions that affect the brains function.
What is the difference between Alzheimer’s and Dementia?
Dementia is very much an ‘umbrella’ term for conditions that affect the brains function. Alzheimer’s Disease is just one of the possible causes of dementia, albeit the most common. People can have more than one
type of dementia, known as ‘mixed dementia.
What causes Dementia?
Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or a series of strokes. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, but not the only one. The specific symptoms
that someone with dementia experiences will depend on the parts of the brain that are damaged and the disease that is causing the dementia.
What Types of Dementia Are There?
There are over 200 subtypes of dementia, but the five most common are:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Vascular Dementia
- Dementia with Lewy bodies
- Frontotemporal Dementia
- Mixed Dementia.
Regardless of which type of dementia is diagnosed and what part of the brain is affected, each person will experience dementia in their own unique way.
For more information of the 5 Main Types of Dementia follow this link to Dementia UK - What is Dementia?
Further information is also available from Alzheimers UK - About Dementia.
How can Dementia Affect An Older Person In Their Own Home?
Having a Dementia does not automatically mean that a person needs to go into a residential care home; with the right attention to the environmental details of their own home, they can be supported to stay at home
Lighting & Noise
The correct lighting helps a person with dementia in their orientation and wellbeing and also reduces the risk of falls:
- Ensuring the home is as naturally lit as possible.
- Installing light bulbs with high wattage.
- Using night lights for during the night to aid orientation.
- Reduce unnecessary background noise as
this may increase agitation as dementia makes it more difficult to concentrate on one thing at a time.
The local fire service will provide a Free Home Safety Check for any vulnerable person living in their own home:
- Buy fire retardant bedding and furniture.
- Fit smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms, testing them regularly.
- Get gas and electric appliances tested annually.
- Ask for an isolation valve for
gas cookers or a cooker guard for an electric one.
Minimising Risk of Falls
People living with dementia are at an increased risk of falling and also often have longer recovery times. To help minimise this, you could:
- Remove any loose floor coverings that could be tripped over.
- Make sure person has footwear that is comfortable and fitted.
- Look out for any other trip hazards such as wires, objects (declutter the
- Ensure they have their glasses for sight nearby at all times.
- Purchase an alarm (pendant style) that alerts when they have fallen in the home.
Labelling & Signing
Using simple labels to sign to people with dementia where things are in their home can really help; sometimes they no longer recognise the once-familiar rooms and some prompts go a long way to helping them retain
- Labels identifying room names or even cupboard contents (such as 'cereal cupboard’, ‘fridge’, etc).
- Labels and signs should be simple and pinned up at eye level making them easy to see.
- Sometimes a
person with dementia may lose the ability to read words so images that describe will help (e.g. picture of a bath or toilet pinned onto the bathroom door).
There are more examples of how to make a persons home dementia-friendly using the following websites:
Dementia UK - Making the home Dementia friendly.
Alzheimers UK - Making the home Dementia friendly.
How Can ShineCare Help?
ShineCare is experienced in helping people who live with dementia in their own home for longer. We can provide dementia specialist care to you that will truly help you maintain your independence in your own home.